Back in 2012, trees were cut down to make way for the Endeavour on its route to the California Science Center. This could be the case along the Crenshaw Corridor for the coming construction of the Cren/LAX line.
Photo by Brian W. Carter
The announcement of more than 150 trees being cut down throughout the Crenshaw corridor garnered a strong response.
Recently, Joint Park Mesa/Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Council Taskforce and community members met regarding the removal of more than 150 trees along Crenshaw Blvd to accommodate the construction of the Crenshaw Light Rail. At issue was the MTA’s failure to comply with state environmental protection law (CEQA) and provide appropriate mitigations to offset the loss of the benefits and value of the trees.
The five-member Board of Public Works (BPW) deliberated for more than four hours on Good Friday and equity won the day. The board agreed with many of the taskforce recommendations and made as a condition for the removal of the trees – the following:
-MTA must replace trees at a rate of 4:1 along the entire route on Crenshaw following construction vs the original 2:1 plan by MTA
-MTA must use 36 inch box trees when feasible vs the original proposal of 24 inch boxes
-MTA must maintain the trees for 5 years in accordance with the city’s standards vs the 2 year plan by MTA
-MTA must develop and implement an interim landscape plan and fill the empty tree wells with some type of landscaping to reduce the blight during construction.
-MTA must consult the neighborhood councils on all landscaping, hauling and construction plans prior to approval.
In addition, the Board agreed and asked MTA to work with the city and provide the following although not directly related to the issuance of the permit:
-MTA should repave the entire street upon completion of the construction and not simply the immediate construction area.
-MTA should repair and replace all damaged sidewalks and curbs along the route so local residents can have easy and safe access to the new rail;
-MTA should replace the existing side and center medians which help make Crenshaw a scenic highway at a ratio of 1:1 linear sq feet along Crenshaw not necessarily the current.
These recommendations will require further action and follow-up by all of us in the community. The permit issued on Friday is for the first 98 trees. MTA will need a second permit to remove the proposed 56 trees south of 48th Street. MTA will also need a permit for the removal of the medians. That will be an important time to once again fight for the replacement of these assets.
The MTA Board will continue to meet and the staff will present their report. It’s an opportunity to communicate and reinforce the importance of these issues. The Board of Public Works has asked for an update in three months.
Brian W. Carter contributed to this article.